|John Joseph , Mary Ann Theresa , Mother Deborah Nora Leddy Bangert, Deborah Eleanor Bangert- Brooks, Joseph Vincent Bangert circa 1990 at our father's funeral Mass in Our Lady of The Cape RC Church in Brewster, MA|
My twin brother Joe and I were driven to St. John's in 1953 administered by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, when we were only 5 years old, and later at age of 11, we were transferred to the "big boys" home of St. Joseph's House for Homeless and Industrious Boys administered by the Holy Ghost Fathers.
|The Four Bangert Children -Mary Ann, Debbie, Johnny and Joe|
|St. John's Orphan Asylum 49th St. and Wyalusing Ave. West Philadelphia|
|St. John's Prayer Time 1920's, note the good sister have a wooden chapel kneelers, but not those in their care!|
|1963 color Kodachrome of St. John's pool|
Our childhood lives were extremely cold and we were brokenhearted as we were separated by the courts and given as wards for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to do what they wanted with out state inspections and any consumer recourse, and many of the nuns were cruel as I remember it, and we had many unspeakable acts of violence, with very unfair and unnecessary corporal punishment, and were neglected on a daily basis.
These situations were perpetuated by a arcane system which went unchecked by any reformers. When I give thought to this era it still is very painful and extremely hard for me to understand how caregivers were not taking care of us?
Where was their innate humanity? Were the victims and the victimizes part of a religious system that was very far from Christian, moral, decent or humane, but yes very "catholic" in the strictest meaning of being 'universal' in both the post war era on the United States and Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
The nuns would ask us to offer up these acts because they were Acts of mortification to the Sacred Heart of Jesus!
So Be It Then, but NOT NOW!
Today I pray that my abusers have opened their own hearts, to find truth and knowledge and remember that we were put into their sacred trust and care for our minds, bodies and souls.
May our abusers may have their own redemption in an awareness that logic and science now rules modernity.
Not the olden days of sense of sin, repentance and suffering.
Spirit rules, the survivorship spirit of life longing for itself, like roots seeking water in city pipes, or the plants which turns it's leaf toward the sun of warmth and photo-syntheses.
Beside this what if eternity- is only for a second?
How would one live your life again? For self - or for others?
I pray that all of our own tortured and broken hearts, souls and minds, as well as our own intellects and spirits - share in part of our interconnectedness and collective healing for both victim survivors, and victimizers.
|Here was my favorite place, the pool with little or too much chlorine treatment, and how about those wet woolen bathing trunks! I still itch today.|
|Here is a color picture of the old brick school building. This was the dungeon of doom and punishment.|
In some psychological ways it follows us today in the form know as PTSD / Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It seems like a re-occurring dream state outside of our bodies, in another life time and never too soon forgotten, but with one small smell, or words or images and that wickedly broken world come rushing's back into my awakened consciousness and yet I feel it happened to someone else, very disconnected from our present day reality of love and respect.
If we were caught using the wall for support we would have been strapped with a belt.
Click on the link for a other abuse story's! Warning! Contains child violence, and rape!
| Old Homie for St. Joe's The Hut | Corporal Punishment | Irish Child & Sexual Abuse | Catholic Nuns, Child Abuse and Vows
If we ever considered running away and many brave boys did, the nuns would shave our heads and make us wear long flannel nightshirts to all day in school and out on the yard.
For repeat runaways they were savagely beaten and locked in the dungeons beneath the schoolyard, where giant coal furnaces were and next to the mammoth coal boilers and coal bins. The subterranean underworld, was a place close to the heat and flames of hell indeed.
St. John's Orphan Asylum for Boys opened in 1797 in Philadelphia and was followed the next year by St. John's Orphan Asylum for Girls.
The first non-sectarian institution was the Orphan Society of Philadelphia founded in 1814.
The growth of religious and non-sectarian orphanages proliferated. By 1850, there were nine such institutions in Pennsylvania. Some dormitory nuns were so old that in retirement they would be assigned to caregivers for the boys at St. John’s.
When we went to visit the graves at the SSJ’s Mother House, at Mount St. Joseph;s at Chestnut Hill College where we were shocked to find some of the nuns birth years were 1876 and earlier. That means they we in their 80’s in the 1950’s!
She would ask us to select one of her 4 shillelaghs would taunt us with remarks like
” Put you hands out now, you dirty old nigger ”
|In the 1950' we had no desk in our dormitory|
Mary, our Mother of Consolation,
Mary, the source of our hope,
Mary, the refuge of sinners,
Mary, the guiding star of our lives,
Mary, source of strength in our weakness,
Mary, source of light in our darkness,
Mary, source of consolation in our sorrows,
Mary, source of victory in our temptations,
Mary, who leads us to Jesus,
Mary, who keeps us with Jesus,
Mary, who redeems us through Jesus,
Mary, Mother of Consolation, our Patroness,
"Mary's motherhood had been full of mystery from it very beginning. Then, when it all seemed to end in meaningless cruelty and destruction on Calvary, as her innocent Son suffered a criminal's death, the Spirit once more overshadowed her and another astonishing word came from God: Woman, behold your son. In silence she gave herself anew to a motherhood set free from the limitations of flesh and blood, time and space, to embrace all the disciples of her Risen Son and Lord. The tradition of praying to the Mother of God for the gift of consolation dates back to the early centuries, an expression of the Church's belief that the cloud of witnesses, the elect in glory, never cease to pray for the Church on earth. The first written evidence of prayer to the Mother of God, theotokos, is written in Greek on a scrap of Egyptian papyrus dating from between 300-540. And she is invoked as the compassionate one!
On many occasions the Sister's behaviors were certainly not one acting out of compassion for her charges, and therefore hectically to her name sake.
|Fr. John J Bangert O. Pream center with his classmates seminarians from Daylesford Priory|
In the William Golding's 1964 novel, Lord of the Flies it was a truer sense of how we boys governed ourselves, away from the authorities, we ourselves were the authority. Some were kind, most were too scared to buck the system, and besides that the system was ever changing with the personality and the effects of abuse. I too regret for being part of the group when we were mean to the new fat kids, or one of the kids that we sent to the mental institutions for treatment, had returned and we called them names like retard, nut-so.
*SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Lord of the Flies.” SparkNotes LLC. 2007. http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/flies/ (accessed March 17, 2011).*"Readers and critics have interpreted Lord of the Flies in widely varying ways over the years since its publication. During the 1950s and 1960s, many readings of the novel claimed that Lord of the Flies dramatizes the history of civilization. Some believed that the novel explores fundamental religious issues, such as original sin and the nature of good and evil. Others approached Lord of the Flies through the theories of the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, who taught that the human mind was the site of a constant battle among different impulses—the id (instinctual needs and desires), the ego (the conscious, rational mind), and the superego (the sense of conscience and morality). Still others maintained that Golding wrote the novel as a criticism of the political and social institutions of the West. Ultimately, there is some validity to each of these different readings and interpretations of Lord of the Flies. Although Golding’s story is confined to the microcosm of a group of boys, it resounds with implications far beyond the bounds of the small island and explores problems and questions universal to the human experience."
A culture of the boy eat boy, or dog eat dog- survival of the fittest, and the fastest.
The biggest kid demanded the most food, and they got seconds, or you had the back your reaching hand stabbed with a folk, much like the Charles Dickens novel, Oliver Twist. Glenn Watkins had his head stabbed at lunch when he asked for more food from the table bullies.
Not only was Sr. Alice Patricia our teacher, she also escorted us to and from school, study hall, dinning hall and to the play yard. When it was time to line up the yard nun would asks one of us to get into the building and get the hand bell and on occasions she would let one of us ring it aloud.